Post Traumatic Growth in line with
Global Suffering

M.A, Psychology
Clinical psychologist
@Islaah Center for Psychological Wellness

The corona virus pandemic is an event that has caused intense levels of stress, anxiety and confusion across the world. But what if you are told that the feeling from the corona virus crisis can actually be an opportunity to positively transform your life? What if your intense stress is a sign that may make you a more resilient and a happier? It can be used as a catalyst to make a better version of yourself. Science says though the stress that you are going through is undesirable life can improve in the long run.

The corona virus outbreak has given most people an opportunity to alter their life’s path to build a more meaningful life that they couldn’t have in the absence of this pandemic. This occurs while Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a common term, relatively few people know about the term “Post Traumatic Growth. The term Post Traumatic Growth was given by Psychologists Dr. Richard Tedeschi and Dr. Lawrence Calhoun. Post Traumatic Growth is defined as positive psychological and emotional change that results due to suffering, trauma and other challenges that increases an individual’s level of functioning.

Studies conducted in the recent past have revealed that a traumatic event in life can prompt individuals to restructure or redefine how they perceive themselves, others and life in ways that bring over all well-being for them. This helps a person in many ways such as:

      • appreciate life and not take it for granted
      • improves coping skills and self confidence
      • in finding ones purpose in life
      • becoming empathetic and compassionate
      • strong and deeper relationship with people they love

Dr. Sharon Dekel, an assistant professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, and one of the world’s leading researchers on post traumatic growth shared that “traumatic events that create fear and anxiety can force us to psychologically grow. In a meta-analysis study on the relationship between cancer and post traumatic growth that reviewed the history of research on the topic, concluded that a cancer diagnosis creates a “fertile ground” for both stress and growth, and that many cancer patients experience post traumatic growth over time.

Several studies have shown that a substantial number of survivors of the 9/11 terrorist attacks experienced post traumatic growth over time. So, in the current situation if you are experiencing high levels of stress please know these feelings are fertile soil for growth and positive transformation in due time. Rather than desperately wishing your stress to go away, or judging yourself as “weak” or “flawed” for not being able to cope with the situation right now, embrace this stress as a temporary and necessary stage in the process of growing.